A fire at an FAA air traffic control facility forced the suspension of flights in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports. (Reuters)

A fire at a traffic control center in Illinois is cancelling and delaying flights from Washington area airports to Chicago, officials say.

The Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, Ill., monitors high-altitude traffic for seven states, said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman. Airspace management was transferred to adjacent air traffic facilities because of the blaze, but delays are being reported nationwide.

Chicago’s O’Hare International, a hub for American and United airlines, is one of the busiest airports in the nation. And the city’s Midway Airport is a major transfer point for Southwest Airlines.

The fire is cancelling and delaying numerous Chicago-bound flights in the Washington area, said Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

“Whenever there are major delays at a hub, that can have a cascading effect on flights from other airports,” Yingling said. “The effects remain to be seen.”

Cory said the Aurora Police Department is investigating the fire. According to a Chicago Tribune story, police said emergency crews found a man in the facility’s basement with “self-inflicted non-gunshot wounds.” The report said the man was not an air traffic controller or FAA manager, according to a source.

Further details about the fire were not released.